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War on corruption: Time`s running out

24th May 2012
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Editorial Cartoon

 There are things that are so rare or bizarre and therefore so hard to believe that, whenever they happen, one just cannot help harping on.

One such thing is the fact that there is still abundant evidence of corruption, recklessness, mismanagement of financial and other resources and lack of accountability in our public service despite decades of efforts to rein in these vices.

Time comes when one qualifies for pardon for pitying government agencies such as the Office of the Controller and Auditor General for working so diligently and patriotically but, since they don’t have teeth that really bite, end up merely barking, barking, and barking.

Some public officials fall under the same category comprising people dying to ensure that our country becomes a better and better place to live, only for circumstances beyond their individual control to undermine their efforts.

The problems emanating from the conspiracy of these agents of sabotage would have been much easier to contain than actually happens if the power and influence of constructive change always outweighed whatever it is that forces out to give society a hard time rely on in perpetrating their evil ways.

But, alas, we all know of numerous cases of wrong triumphing over right as we hopelessly look on when even the most inconsequential or mutest of interventions would have made world of difference.

Only as recently as earlier this week, a wildlife conservation and development stakeholder was heard recommending the purchase and deployment of state-of-the-art helicopters as part of the government’s strategy to combat poaching in the country’s national parks, game reserves and wildlife management areas.

As the plan was being floated, media reports talked of corrupt civil servants diverting to eight unlicensed or ‘phantom’ dispensaries medical supplies worth 83 million/- the government had meant for public use in Kilwa District between 2007 and 2010.

According to the latter reports, it’s much the same civil servants who had masterminded the scheme under which six of the health facilities were granted registration even before being registered.

What the observer advocating the deployment of modern helicopters in the war on poaching may have forgotten to consider was that the human conscience plays a much bigger and more decisive part in wars than even the most sophisticated of weapons can ever do.

Whoever thinks to the contrary should tour any of our wildlife sanctuaries one of these days and find time to go to the root of the serious drop in the population of animal species such rhinos, leopards, tree-climbing lions and elephants.

With so many people so viciously preying on public resources without the slightest fear of facing justice, it remains to be seen what little will be left of the likes of the Serengeti, Katavi, Manyara and Ngorongoro national parks and Selous Game Reserve.

Likewise, with efforts to tame ferocious undercurrents in the form of so-called ghost workers, projects and programmes yet to come to anything much, we need to put in place mechanisms that would really help us wage a winning war against corruption and other vices. Any further indifference or complacency will prove suicidal.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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